Schmidt, Canadian women make a splash overseas

Sophie-Schmidt

Sophie Schmidt, right, in action for Canada. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

Although the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the National Women’s Soccer League season are in the books, many Canadians are still on the pitch, finding regular minutes while playing professionally abroad.

Some, such as Sophie Schmidt and Josee Belanger, embarked on new adventures in certain foreign leagues for the first time, while Marie-Eve Nault and Desiree Scott returned to familiar clubs.

Sportsnet took a closer look at how the Canadians are faring:

SWEDEN
Josee Belanger’s first venture overseas has proven successful thus far. Her club, FC Rosengard, is at the top of the Damallsvenskan table and can advance to the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League with a win this week versus Finland’s PK-35 Vantaa. The 29-year-old striker has scored twice in domestic league action and was named Player of the Match on two occasions.

Marie-Eve Nault is now in her third year with KIF Orebro and continues to make an impact on the back line. She’s started in 12 matches, which includes a Champions League game and Svenska Cupen action. It’s also worth mentioning the 33-year-old defender is taking on leadership duties, wearing the captain’s arm band. Orebro is on the cusp of moving onto the round of 16 in Champions League, with the second leg against Greece’s PAOK on tap.

Rounding out the Canadian contingent in Sweden is Shelina Zadorsky. The defender has seen minutes in 18 matches for Vittsjo GIK, which bodes well for a 22-year-old looking to take on a more prominent role with the national team. Zadorsky lined up for Canada at this summer’s Pan American Games and showed her versatility of adapting as a centre-back or fullback.


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GERMANY
Sophie Schmidt’s journey to play for FFC Frankfurt of the Bundesliga has already put her in some key situations. In her first Champions League match the midfielder netted the winner versus Standard Liege on a penalty kick. Much like the Belanger and Nault, Schmidt and Frankfurt could book a ticket to the Champions League round of 16 with a second leg victory over their Belgian opponents. If all three advance, they could potentially face off versus one another, depending on the draw.

Unfortunately, during the media conference ahead of the Frankfurt-Liege match, it was announced that Schmidt suffered a rib fracture and will be on the sidelines for up to three weeks.

Striker Christina Julien is in her third year in the Bundesliga. After two seasons with FF USV Jena she’s now a member of FC Köln. The 27-year-old has yet to find the back of net in four matches, but did have a tremendous 2014 campaign with six goals.

ENGLAND
Right now, Desiree Scott is the only Canadian national team member playing in FA WSL. It’s her second stint with Notts County and much like with Canada, the midfielder has been a defensive powerhouse in the centre of the pitch.

Although the 28-year-old’s club was on the losing end of the recent FA Cup final, redemption could be around the corner. Notts recently advanced to the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup final, which is scheduled for early November versus Arsenal in Rotherham.

AUSTRALIA
The W-League regular season commences this weekend and runs until the middle of January. Veteran centre-back Carmelina Moscato has signed on with Western Sydney Wanderers. She previous suited up professionally in Sweden and Italy, but this marks her first experience playing in Australia. The Wanderers are looking to improve on their last place finish in 2014.


Sandra Prusina is a Calgary-based writer. Follow her on Twitter

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